Xan the Warder stared at the newcomer with a skeptical eye. The man was a sorcerer of some kind, to judge by his robes. Xan knew little of magic, but enough to know that its users were not to be trusted. They were fiends, as likely to summon some demon from the depths of the many earths as to cast a curing spell and mend a broken leg. She had heard tell of a man, desperate in his affections for a woman, who had begged a wizard for a love potion, only to find himself short six coins of the realm and madly in love with a toad.
“What brings you this way, stranger?” Xan said. She swept the cloak back from her shoulders and let her hand rest upon her sword. A message of sorts.
The newcomers gaze followed the movement of her hand and a small grin touched his lips. “I’ve heard the air in these parts is restorative.”
“If you can restore something that’s been froze solid with your magic, then perhaps it might be,” Xan said, looking out over the frigid wastes that extended in all directions before her.
The newcomer laughed, his breath clouding the air. “My name is Ves. You are?”
“The Warder,” Xan said, refusing to be enticed by his friendliness. The wind swirled around them and the sorcerer shivered.
“Where’s the prison?” Ves said.
“Do you think I’m a fool?”
Ves laughed again. “I suppose not. It is a rather remote clime for a prison, wouldn’t you agree?”
Xan did not reply, staring hard at the sorcerer.
Ves shrugged, as if he could not understand her reluctance to talk. “Come now, Warder. Surely you must get bored being here, all alone in the cold? I’m only asking for a moment of your time.”
Xan rolled her eyes. “No one comes here to pass the time. I’m not much for conversation. Get to the point.” She moved her hand to the pommel of her sword.
“Easy now,” Ves said, holding up his hands. “Don’t you think you should be careful? You don’t know what kind of sorcerer I am.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Xan said, her voice sounding of death.
Ves smiled. “If you say so. You needn’t worry about me anyway, Warder. I’m just here to meet someone.”
Xan had to resist a laugh. “I doubt there is someone else in the realm foolish enough to wander out onto this wasteland for a chat.”
“But there is,” Ves said, gesturing with his hand as if to point out the person.
Xan followed the movement of his hand and the world went black.
She blinked, worried for a moment that the sorcerer had put a sleeping spell upon her. But it was just that the light had gone from the sky, which, now that she thought about it, was considerably more concerning than a mere sleep spell. The light returned a moment later, the vast wasteland of ice, snow and rock, appearing again before her.
The sorcerer, however, was gone.
Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.
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